After three weeks of feeding my sourdough starter twice a day I was SO ready to put it in the fridge for a rest! Not only does a wet starter take a lot of time to maintain it also takes a lot of flour, which can get expensive if you’re not baking everyday. While it’s possible to put a wet starter in the fridge for a break it still needs to be fed every week; and after seeing Shaye’s video on making a dry sourdough starter I couldn’t wait to take my mature starter and cake it into a Tupperware for long-term storage.
I had originally tried to make a dry starter from scratch according to the recipe listed on The Elliot Homestead website, but I had problems with mold due to my kitchen being too cool – see my notes on sourdough post for more information on that. After working out the kinks in my sourdough starter maintenance routine I was finally ready to transform this needy, ever-hungry beast back into a hobby (and not a full-time job.)
When you’re taking a starter that’s at 100% hydration – in other words, half water and half flour – you just need to reduce the amount of water until it forms a dough not unlike playdough, or around 50% hydration. This is left to activate a little and is then packed into an airtight container to rest in the fridge for future use.
The beauty of this method is that you only need a small amount of the starter to reactivate for each round of baking you do while it’s in the fridge. As long as it’s not moldy it will be safe and ready to use until you only have a small amount left; this remaining starter is used to mix another batch of dry starter to refill your container.
My tip for this recipe is not to let it sit out too long before storing it int he fridge! It only needs minimal time to activate and it will outgrow the container if left for too long, leading to mess and possible catastrophe. Go ahead, ask me how I know!
Dry Sourdough Starter
- 40 g active sourdough starter 100% hydration
- 50 g lukewarm water
- 200 g all-purpose flour unbleached
Dry Sourdough Starter
- Combine the starter and water in a small bowl and stir to combine. Add the flower and mix with either a spoon or with hands until a soft, smooth dough forms. Place this dough in your desired container and let activate under a towel for about an hour.
- Put the lid on your starter and place it in the fridge.
Levain (Reactivating Starter)
- To activate your starter make a levain the night before you'd like to bake. Combine the starter and the water and mix until it's broken up and reabsorbed; add flour and combine. Mix until it's no longer lumpy and there's no dry flour in the bowl.
- Cover loosely and leave to rise for 6-10 hours, or until it's bubble and expanded in size. This starter can be used in any quantity called for by your sourdough recipe.